Friday, December 5, 2014

Viewport 2.0

Who's got time for fancy renders. (though they are pretty)

Tim Rudder lays out how to use viewport 2.0 in maya. Nice and quick. Just flip it on under the panel's renderer.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Jackie Chan - Every Frame a painting

I've watched all of this guys vids, he's got a lot of great points. 

Why is jackie chan so awesome?

Jackie combines action and comedy in one scene (most other movies do one and then the other)

action that is also funny: Jackie starts with a disadvantage (no shoes, handcuff)  so he has to fight his way back up, each action has a logical reaction

2 because he's the underdog he has to get creative, using anything around him
makes each fight organic and grounded and gives unique jokes

3 clarity dresses clearly, frames clearly, sets up the next shot (throws a stuntman off a balcony frame shows staircase which will be the next stunt. keeps camera still wide angle so can see everything. Everything is more impressive because action and reaction are in same frame, also works for comedy action and reaction in one shot is more funny.

5. time - willing to take as many takes to get it right (expensive)

6. rhythm - distinct musical rhythm (american editors break it with their cuts on every single hit), grew out of chinese opera timing, got to hold the shot long enough to feel the rhythm.

7. first shot hit opponent in wide, in 2nd shot hit close up, don't match continuity across cuts, rewind 2nd cut for a little more anticipation (3 frames) so you feel the hit (cuz you see it twice). American films cut on the hit so it looks like a bunch of people flailing around

8. pain = jackie gets hurt, doesn't look invincible, pain humanizes him, his expressions sell a joke

9. by fighting his way from the botom he earns a fantastic finish, he wins not because he's a better fighter but because he never stops never gives up

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Michael Amos Action Analysis

Michael Amos has a blog that has some interesting posts.  (podcast with him here)

Such as this one about mouths.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Convos with my Child

My wife just showed these to me, they are fantastic, because they take the regular power interplay between kids and their parents, and with both parties being equal you can see how much of a status interaction it is. Also these will be AWESOME for pulling clips to animate from "I'm naked, so I'm the boss."

Friday, November 14, 2014

Daniel Gonzales notes

ran across animator Daniel Gonzales blog

he has a summary of Glen Keanes rhythm tilt twist
 rhtyhm - " So in a drawing, every line flows and curves into each other creating a rythm. it'll capture your eyes lead it around the drawing in a sort of dance."
 tilt - contraposta, keep things from being stiff
 twist - don't keep things flat

 and a good group of animation excercises that mostly don't require special models

Bouncing ball (loop) (squash and stretch/spacing)
Bouncing ball across the screen (2 bounces) (squash and stretch/spacing)
Cinder Block sliding off a shelf, hitting the floor. (spacing, form)
Flour Sac Jump (mass)
A blink (spacing/squash and stretch)
A head turn (transitions/ arcs)

breaking a sweat
walk cycle (technical)
run cycle (technical)
character jumping (physical/ spacing)
Suicide backwards fall off a ledge (subtle delays and overlap)
A character getting up from a chair (physical, anticipation)
A smile (face muscles, appeal)
A sneeze (exaggeration and timing)
Do an action that requires a 'smear' (technical)
Laughing (reference studying)

Marathon training
Animate a hand doing something-close up (anatomy)
character lifting a heavy object (weight)
animate a dog shaking after a bath (overlap follow through)
hammering a nail (timing spacing)
character blowing up a balloon (physicality)
piano falling on a character (timing weight)
character brushing their teeth (personality)
character eating a sandwich (personality)
getting up out of bed (physical personality)
waiting for the bus stop (entertainment/ appeal)

Quitters quit, winners win
character throwing a bucket of water on another (physical acting)
tug of war b/w two characters (tension)
character drinking wine (research)
character making an egg- full process from fridge to mouth (rhythm and timing)
A feather falling and being blown by the wind (reference)
character reacting to "your parents are dead" (acting)
putting on a pair of pants (physical)
sleeping character being startled, then going back to sleep (rhythm and texture)

and some nice acting clips

and this idea of organizing time I've been trying to re track down for a few years now

Colin Firth on acting

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Awesome Jason Ryan Polishing

notes when close the mouth, raise it a tiny bit, flare nostrils a bit, raise cheeks a bit, and opposite when mouth opens, so gives the impression of the squetchy Disney muzzle, the fleshy feel. to do this, makes a locked on face cam, does a whole pass on the cheeks, going through the whole scene, up and out, down and in. also nose raising lowering a bit. Thinking of the whole muzzle as a whole unit. Same thing with the brows, rough in the expressions you want, pushing poses so they're always alive. even if you can't see it from render view, you'll feel it. think in arcs, and don't have to stay centered. subtle amounts of changes, not trying to go off model. nothing hits a wall. (like mouth corners, or eyebrows)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

League of Legends New Dawn

really interesting idea that they built in the character by finding moments to show emotional reactions

yeah, this one is ridiculous, tried to just get her expression, but the software (gifyoutube) I was using wasn't fine enough

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Michael Bay super succesful, but not that interesting, why?

People love spectacle.

Bay's cirular zoom in:  (battleship is an example of a copycat failing at it)
   need a background so you get parralax, a bigger sense of movement
   telephoto lense to compress the space to make the background zip by
   actors move vertically
   low angle to give the scale
   slow motion to sell it

movement of the camera movement of the actors movement of the background, expansion of time, then they look off screen creating stillness, making the scene feel huge

bay epicness= layers of depth, parralax, movement, character, and environment

not unique, Bay just layers it deeply and has complex movement

complex movement in lots of directions

Bay doesn't distinguish importance of shots, every shot is designed for maximum visual impact regardless of if it fits, so sometimes emphasizes gibberish unimportant dialogue.

Bay makes things feel big by putting lots of things of various size and then move the camera to emphasize it. Also offscreen space, having the actors look offscreen to stuff we're not seeing, which makes us feel like the stuff we do see in the background is really extensive.

Bay seems to think that a good movie is 3000 dynamic shots and no static ones.

Bayhem, the use of movement, composition and fast editing to create a sense of epic scale, each individual shot feels huge but implies even bigger things outside of frame. It stacks multiple layers of movement shot on either a very long lense or a very wide one. It shows you a lot for just a moment and then takes it away, you feel the overall motion but no grasp of anything concrete. Basically traditional action movie vocabulary, but faster and dirtier shot.

We can process visual information at a speed not common before, but thinking through what an image means we don't have time. We're visually sophisticated but visually illiterate, we can follow (and can't look away for fear of missing anything) but we don't have time to process it to understand it clearly.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

Frank Thomas

any attitdue or expression should not be limited to the face, the whole body should support your statement, just as much care should go into the shoulders and wrists and everything as the eyes (or something like that, Hyrum Osmond quoted it here

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Point Pusher

Daniel WIlliams pretty intersting

New Class Webinar Preview from pointpusher on Vimeo.

he talks about the idea that the 9 old men were concept artists and character designers, they did it all. Current animator's are just puppet pushers, which is hard, but the old guys used to do more, were bigger artists. Why not, why not go back to doing everything?


Jennine Lanouette  has some pretty clear videos about story and acting.

Sympathetic Doesn't Have To Mean Likable from Jennine Lanouette on Vimeo.

It's not that he was likeability that pulled the audience in, it was his vulnerability.

Show your main character at a power disadvantage, even for a moment, and the audience will get on board, we all love an underdog.

Some characters don't immediately illicit sympathy.

in Margin Call, the characters are all rich and powerful, but we are introduced to each one in a vulnerable moment (ones dog is dying, one has bad nicotine withdrawal etc)

How bout james bond (invulnerable) we see him at the mercy of his boss

Once you show your character at a power disadvantage they can be a dick afterwards, just have to introduce them in a position of vulnerabllity.

The examination of human deviance is as essential as the triumph over adversity and the glorification of strength.

For the viewer it needs to be personal, a practical matter for the writer. By engineering a sympathetic attachment you enable your viewer to stay with your deviant character and outrageous behaviour in order to  reveal the larger cultural meanings contained in their story.

Who Has the Power? from Jennine Lanouette on Vimeo.

power shift on an action is stronger, because it's understood visually also

Lesson One - Visuals and Action from Jennine Lanouette on Vimeo.

have to show how tough max is but also his humanity

we saw him make a decision visually. We understood what he was thinking because of what we saw, how important gas is, and that he messed with this guy. So we know how important both things are and understand what his thoughts are as he considers both.

Dialogue as Action from Jennine Lanouette on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Advice on Art and Life

You don’t become an artist. You are one or you’re not.
If you are, you’re either creating or you’re not creating.
Both have their drawbacks; but while creating is frustrating, difficult, scary, occasionally exhilarating and often humiliating, not creating is to doubt one’s own reason for being.

The choice is clear, then; to stay alive the artist needs to create like the shark needs to swim.

We live in an age of irony – everyone is superior to or laughing at someone. We mistake it for sophistication, but it’s cowardice. It’s an unwillingness to stake one’s heart and mind on something for fear of appearing naive. Irony is lazy. Its point is that conviction is meaningless; its point is that there is no point. We think of it as edgy, but nothing is edgy if everyone’s doing it. The really revolutionary act is to create art that attempts to be redemptive, to stand for something, to be unrepentantly earnest. We need that art in this world. Go make it

from Gretchen Peters

Monday, May 12, 2014

GDC Vault

David Rosen overgrowth procedural animation

animation do no harm to the gameplay
if you have half as much time between each stride because your running twice as fast, you can only go up and down half as tall

Building an IP from scratch, Bungie's Destiny

looks like I need to do some mining over at the GDC vault

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

2 Character Stop Motion

Weeeee, fights are always so fun to animate. I wanted to try and stopmo 2 characters at once. At first I was trying to always animate screen right first, but then had to go with what I always do with fights and let the attention get passed back and forth between who's doing what. Wish I didn't have to sleep so I could get away with staying up late doing these.

acting thoughts: Ed Hooks, Ken Fountain

Read Ed Hooks review of Frozen over at Cartoon Brew.

He says that in our every day lives things are alive, but that's not enough to make it interesting, so recreating an illusion of life of reality is not enough to entertain. We should strive for "theatrical reality".
"Theatrical reality has structure and is selective, showing only the parts of reality that are necessary for telling the story and illuminating character."
Okay I'm on board this far, 'film is reality with the boring bits taken out'.

"There is a widely held misconception among animators that, if they can endow their character with emotion and an illusion of life, that equates to good acting. The fact is that mood is not acting at all, and emotion alone has zero theatrical value. There are sequences in Frozen during which Anna or Elsa is alone and depressed, very sad (see 10:40, end of “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?”). Those are moments in time, expertly animated, but they are only that. As a character animator, you do not want to hang your acting hat on a moment during which the audience is feeling sorry for your character. Yes, the audience can empathize with a character being sad but, in life, emotion tends to lead to action. The longer the mood and negative behavior persist, the further removed will be the possibility of the audience feeling empathy." I've already written about my thoughts on his emotion leads to action.

Throughout his review Hooks mixes his critique of animation with his critique of the writing, as if one person would have control over both. But okay fine, the pro's can turn a poorly written character good with their acting choices. "Emotion alone has zero theatrical value" is a bit stretched though, I think in order for the audience to suspend desbelief, develop empathy for a character, and be at all engaged then the characters have to have believable living emotions, so even if they aren't advancing the story they are still drawing people in. But I take his point that the goal should be to do both.

"emotional states (ie "I'm confused") are not theatrically valid answers. Acting is doing. If a character is not doing anything to achieve a definable and provable objective, he is not acting. Emotion tends to lead to action."
He says strong acting is action in pursuit of an objective while overcoming an obstacle. "Ideally, an animator should be able to freeze frame a character at any time and ask, “What are you doing?” "
If we freeze frame Anna the moment she calls for her horse, her answer would be: “My objective is to find Elsa; my action is to get on my royal horse and locate her; my obstacle/conflict is with the situation.”

I don't think he's saying it clearly. Maybe something like: it's better to be verbing towards a goal than adjectiving about it. It's better to be intimidating the meter maid instead of being angry about the ticket.

"A scene is a negotiation."  each character is pursuing their objective, which may hinder or be in conflict with the other character

I was rewatching Ken Fountain's tutorial.
"Rats" Final Render from Ken Fountain on Vimeo.

Something I caught this time that I didn't pick up the last time was he was talking about when she shifts from internal focus to external focus. (An idea I first heard from Michael Makarewicz) In Fountain's animation the shift happens from when she's snarking at her little brother then she slowly stops paying attention to what she's saying as she gets sucked into watching the rats. Makarewicz had pointed out you can be focused outwardly on the things around you trying to affect them, or internally more aware of what's happening inside. Still hard to really articulate. But here was an visual example.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


KAIROS Trailer from Studio La Cachette on Vimeo.

this is old, but so damn awesome!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Serpent Princess

love how tight this is, all the parts bam bam bam done!

heads up nsfw

The Serpent Princess from Arctq17 on Vimeo.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

En Garde

Quick stop mo test I did. I covered one of the extras I made for my Kong abandoned project with some clay, it stayed pretty well (masking tape body, clay didn't slide off really at all).

Was partly an execercise in what it takes to get it onto the good camera (instead of the crappy web cam). 15 minutes of set up, running the camera into the computer through a tethering program, having the stop motion program watch that, and then having it saved externally onto my ipod. When the stopmo program was watching the folder the whole computer would lag. Someday I'll have to get a new compy, this one is at least 7 years old.

Need to put something like a tissue across the key board so I don't accidentally gum it up with clay.

What is the secret to keeping characters solidly connected to the ground when they're sitting or otherwise touching but not tied down? Guess I'll have to keep experimenting to find out.  There's a few spacing hiccups, that I'm going to blame on me not being as methodical as possible because I was starting to sweat being up so late past my bedtime with work and early rising children to answer to. (being a responsible adult is lame)

and here's the live cam. I had tried to make the little guy breathing like he was meditating, but with his legs rocking up as he rocked back it just looked amateur. But it was really nice to see the good camera's shots and actually see form and definition, instead of basically a silhouette.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Cameron Fielding on using Reference

Cameron Fielding did a talk at the pixel challenge conference a while back. Pretty interesting. 

  Cameron Fielding - Using reference from iAnimate on Vimeo.

what's important to look at (when looking at ref)

forget about "what pictures do I need to understand this" (don't worry about antic and follow thru poses and stuff)

walt stanchfield's books, you look at the model once and then not again and you try and draw what struck you as important from their pose

we have to apply this exact same idea to reference

go through the ref picking out still frames to describe the video (like you were going to make a photo comic book of the ref)

not looking for story poses or extremes, looking for the things that make you want to animate the shot

these are the poses you are going to milk later, you are going to try the hardest to preserve these when your polishing

drawing helps to dispel mystery:
draw your first impression poses, it reveals to yourself what it is you like about the pose, you'll find yourself drawing the same bit over and over

you're trying to find what it is that's a struggle to draw, the thing you can't quite get is what you love about it, it'll give you a solid understanding of what part to focus on and is important when you take it to 3D
* found on animator's resource (which I just found and is full of gold)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Edgar Wright on Close Ups

on using closeups to control the pacing, and intro exiting a scene

Monday, January 6, 2014

Posing - professional vs amateur

Great article over at Animator Island, basically looking at screen caps from dancing with the stars and pointing out how the real dancer is really pushing for a flowing line through their body while the amateur star is trying but not stretching for it.